Hi there! It’s been a while…

old-planeEarlier this year, at around EduTech time (so late May, early June), I came back to this place to find an article that I’d written a while back. It’s not unusual for me to visit this blog – it’s my thought space, my place of reflection and promotion of ideas, and I’d visited multiple times already in the year. What was unusual this time was that EduTech had been on my thoughts for a while (as I wasn’t going to be going this year) and my most recent post was about EduTech, posted while at EduTech. It dawned on me that I hadn’t been a very loving father to my blog – I’d been ignoring it, and you – the people who read it.

Now, I have all sorts of reasons for not having updated or posted on my blog for over a year, and in fact, I even started a post that day (which then faded into the haze of my busyness). Some of these are fairly straight forward and probably happen to everyone:

  • My role at work changed
  • I got very busy in my role
  • I moved to a new job, over 1700 km away from the last one
  • It is a very busy job
  • I got distracted

[TL;DR: There’s no excuse, really for not having the reflective time. All educators, or those involved in the education system, require self-reflection as part of our professional practice. I should have made time. I didn’t. I’m sorry]

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On being less helpful…

Students Learning

With a bit of trust – students can teach even us. Image from Pixabay – Free images of high quality (http://pixabay.com/en/students-computer-young-boy-99506/)

I love reading this blog, and yet again, I find a gem.

It’s often all too easy to just go ahead and make changes for the kids and pull them along with you, especially when it comes to technology in education. However, every now and then, it’s really apparent that kids can (and do) employ technology in ways we haven’t seen – they’ll find a way of doing stuff that’s easier and more efficient than what we’ve shown them.

We introduce them to a tool and they go ahead and use it ways we didn’t even think of…

Sometimes, we just need to trust.

On being less helpful….

When a ‘real’ teenager is not a real teenager

Social Media There’s been a bit of chat recently about a particular blog post discussing what teenagers really think about social media (A Teenager’s View on Social Media, written by an actual teen), with direct referencing of particular social media platforms. As you might guess, I’m pretty interested in social media and how it can be used to engage our students (let alone keep me up to date with the my social world), so I had a good read of the article.

It is well written, and has some pretty great points, and is written by an actual 19 year old teen. But as I read through the piece, I got a bit uneasy about the assumptions that some of us might then make about teenager use of social media in general, based on the views of this one teenager. Not all of it was matching my experiences of how teens used social media… Am I becoming disconnected from the kids I need to be able to teach? Is there something else going on? And I guess the bigger question could be, just because this is written by one teenager, is it actually representative of all teenagers? To my mind, it isn’t (but then, I’m not a teen, just some old guy who teaches them).

Enter dana boyd (no capitals on purpose), author of It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, a well researched study into the use of social media by teens (and very well worth a read). In this book, she’s researched how teens are using technology in their lives and how that intersects the world around them. In her piece (on Medium), entitled An Old Fogey’s Analysis of a Teenager’s View on Social Media, dana responds to the countless people who sent her the original blog post, with a very well written, thoughtful and helpful article.

Perhaps the biggest take away, if nothing else, is:

“Teens’ use of social media is significantly shaped by race and class, geography and cultural background.”

I found myself wondering how often it was that I placed my assumptions of how my students use technology on the basis of a generalised, westernised, white, middle-class techno-centred group that we’ve all come to assume is the teenager today.

Have a read. It’s food for thought.

View story at Medium.com

Holiday Repost: How BYOD Programs Can Fuel Inquiry Learning

What we are trying to do is get to transformative use of tech, where kids are doing things they wouldn’t be able to do without the tech.” – That’s the pullquote in MindShift’s blog post… and I love it.The blog itself examines the impact that having a BYOD program can have on learning, and in particular, inquiry learning.

Link: http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/01/how-byod-programs-can-fuel-inquiry-learning/

My school is exploring the options to get up to speed with technology integration, and BYOD is one of the options we’re looking closely at. Regardless, that one quote typifies why technology in education can be a game changer.

Have a read. You’ll like it.

Holiday Repost: Don’t Blame Social Media if Your Teen Is Unsocial. It’s Your Fault

No Facebook Allowed

No Facebook Allowed

Aaah, social media. We all love facebook, twitter, google+, snapchat, kik … and we all love to hate social media too. The number of times I’ve heard, “Facebook is evil” (aka “Bring out the pitchforks and burning branches”) and, “Kids don’t talk to each other anymore” (aka “I don’t let my kids see other kids because they might be influenced, taken, get a scratch…”)  – well, let’s say that if I had a dollar each time, I’d be giving Bill Gates a run for his money…

Anyway, this post at Wired is all about that and is worth the read.

I plan on doing a follow up focusing on helping kids be responsible users of social media – sometime in the new year. Look for it. 🙂